In this installment of a series on understanding service-level agreements, I’ll look at what you need to consider when choosing the hardware used to provide the services.

Service providers offer various hardware options depending on the nature of the security service for which users sign up. Some services will require the installation of dedicated hardware at the customer’s site or, if the service provider will be providing hosting services, in their cage. Some service providers host their own hardware in their own network operations center. Some provide the security service through hardware that is shared with many other customers.

Dedicated hardware applications may come in the form of appliances that the product vendor sells, or dedicated hardware that the service provider has installed the security software. Either way, it’s a piece of hardware you are not sharing with any other SLA customers.

In addition to all the hardware considerations, there are factors that you must consider when choosing security software to protect your network. In the next column, I will go over the software considerations to ensure your IT infrastructure is well protected.

Results you can measure.


Cost savings from a complete customer experience redesign for a global retailer


Reduction in year-over-year contact minutes for a consumer manufacturer


Improvement in customer satisfaction ratings for a large provider